What Is Facade Access?
Facade access is a vital part of facilities maintenance & construction as it allows for the safe access to the exterior of a building. Facade access consultants design safe operations procedures and equipment for window washing, building envelope maintenance, and even initial construction. Due to OSHA and CalOSHA standards, all facade access systems must be engineered to certain specifications.
What Is Facade Access Consulting?
Facade access consultants ensure that all portions of the exterior can be accessed safely. This includes the design and testing of all structural components of a facade access system including davit pedestals, bases, monorails, fall protection anchors, tie-back anchors, trolleys, and any other structural element permanently attached to the building.
Facade access consultants ensure that the building is not only safe, but that it meets the code requirements for the particular region it is in. For example, the laws in California are much different than those in Florida. The facade access consultant ensures that these codes are taken into account when designing or testing access equipment.
An experienced consultant will also recognize how to make building access safe, while being mindful of installation cost. Consultants act as third-party representatives for owners, and therefore have no monetary incentive to "over-design" a building to outfit it with too much unnecessary equipment.
Testing and Re-Testing Intervals
Selecting and installing facade access systems is 75% of the battle. The true test of whether or not the installation was successful or not is discovered during the proof testing of the system. According to OSHA 1910.27 & 1910.66, all permanently mounted facade access equipment must be load tested when it is initially installed. This includes davits and anchors. Additionally, this equipment must be periodically re-tested to ensure safety. A Qualified Person must re-test the equipment every 10 years according to OSHA 1910.27, ANSI/IWCA I-14.1-2001, and ASME A120.1-2014.
The difference between a Qualified Person and a Competent Person is stark. According to OSHA, "a competent person must have authority to take prompt measures to eliminate hazards at the work site and have the experience to be capable of identifying these hazards.... a qualified person must have a recognized degree, certificate, etc., or extensive experience and ability to solve the subject problems, at the worksite." Generally, a qualified person is required to certify a facade access system.
Determining Which Facade Access Consultant To Hire
The safety of your workers is paramount, and should not go to the lowest bidder. Paying slightly more for an experienced consultant will save you thousands in unnecessary equipment costs. When looking for a qualified engineering firm to handle your facade access systems and davit anchor needs, select a firm that has a broad range of experience with multiple types systems. Your firm should have a proven track record with a wide variety of clients -- possessing knowledge on many different projects allows them to chose the best solution for your needs.